Pro-life club has a right to function

AMS-ratified clubs have a right to promote their ideologies — and students have an equal right to criticize them.

Queen’s Alive, an anti-abortion club, set up a booth in Mackintosh-Corry Hall multiple times this semester to question students on their knowledge of abortion in Canada.

While questioned, some students were presented with misleading information.

One student said group members told passersby that women can get an abortion up until the day before a baby is due.

While true, this statement omits context. Abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy are legal in Canada, but rarely occur; few hospitals and clinics agree to perform them and often only do so to protect the woman’s health, according to the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health.

Manipulating facts to support opinions is something that many ideology-based clubs do, and it can be frustrating and disturbing for some students.

But like any group on campus, Queen’s Alive has the right to function and be ratified by the AMS.

Unless a club promotes hate speech or violates the University’s Code of Conduct, it can’t and shouldn’t be subject to discipline or de-ratification simply because their political or moral opinions make students uncomfortable.

Groups with unconventional opinions stimulate discourse on campus. Shutting them down would only feed into apathy and homogeneity, as students would be discouraged from challenging the norm.

These groups aren’t obligated to tell the whole truth, but as a ratified club, they should be more conscientious of making statements devoid of context.

For anti-abortion groups in particular, presenting misleading information only further alienates individuals and derails any hope of having a productive conversation.

But all groups need a chance to have a proper discussion with the Queen’s community before judgment is passed in the court of public opinion.

If a club refuses to hold themselves to a higher standard, it’s up to students to challenge them to improve and to assess the validity of their information for themselves.

It’s well within a student’s rights to publicly voice their discomfort and concerns, or to take it up through official channels. The AMS can’t be expected to micromanage each of its clubs, but if enough students voice complaints about any campus group, it would be worthwhile for the AMS to review the club’s actions.

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